10/30/11 More funds earmarked for school technology

More funds earmarked for school technology
Additional $1 million will be taken from undesignated reserve
By Mike Wilder The Times-News 10/30/11     
Reprinted with permission.

    The Alamance-Burlington Board of Education will spend $4 million to improve technology in the school system during 2011-12, up from original plans to spend $3 million.

   The money will come from the system’s $14.5 million undesignated fund reserves. Board members altered original plans to spend $3 million on technology and $1 million on building maintenance needs, with the understanding that the system will examine spending money from other sources on building needs.

   Superintendent Lillie Cox had recommended spending $3 million on technology and $1 million on building needs. During a meeting last week, she said the original $3 million would boost technology in the system’s middle and high schools, while the additional $1 million would be used to strengthen technology in elementary schools.

   Board member Patsy Simpson made the initial suggestion that the board approve an additional $1 million for technology, suggesting the system could use lottery money and leftover bond referendum money to make a dent in building needs.

   The system has about $3.7 million in state lottery money on hand and about $2.4 million in money left over from projects financed by bonds voters approved in 2004.

   Board members will be getting information from system employees on projects that could be funded, at least in part, through lottery and bond money.

   According to preliminary discussion, building needs that could be addressed include:

  • Work on heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems at Smith Elementary, North Graham Elementary and Turrentine Middle schools.
  • Conversion of fluorescent lights throughout the system’s facilities.
  • Painting and carpet replacement in schools.
  • Continued asbestos removal at Williams High School.
  • Paving of some lots and driveways at North Graham Elementary, Graham Middle School, and Alexander Wilson Elementary.
  • New roofing at Graham High School and roof coating at other facilities.
  • Electrical work at Cummings High School and Broadview Middle School.
  • An elevator at Grove Park Elementary to replace a broken chair lift.

   Besides maintenance and repairs, the list of potential projects includes construction of new, free-standing cafeterias at Southern Alamance and Western Alamance high schools at $2.5 million for each project. That would include renovation of existing cafeterias for instructional use. School system employees have talked about outgrowing “core facilities” such a cafeterias and gyms as schools have added classroom space.

   Also on the list of possible building-related projects: Purchase of land to be used for another high school at a projected cost of $1.5 million.

   Cost of the projects far exceeds money that would be immediately available.